June 14, 2013

Your first mistake is comparing yourself to someone else



What actions steps will get you what you want?
How often do we do compare ourselves to others in our daily lives? Not just about our speaking skills, but about everything? The envy, the resentment, the competition, the discouragement -- all because we don't have what someone else has or we can't be what someone else is.

How often have you compared yourself to someone else, saying things to yourself like, "I wish I made as much money as so-and-so," or "I wish I had her hair," or "I'll never have a house like that," or "I'll never be as successful as him"? This list can go on infinitely, because when you're comparing yourself to others, there's always someone who has what you want, be it a concrete possession, a physical trait, or an intangible quality.

As a speaker, your first mistake is thinking that you should be or can be like someone else. You shouldn't and you can't, and I wish I could just end this post here and have that be the end of it. But even though you know that logically ("Of COURSE I can't really be like Tony Robbins. That's just silly..."), you still crave and desire and disappoint yourself.

So let's break it down.

Say you want to be like Tony Robbins -- and I say this because I and other speaking coaches I know have had clients literally say this to us.

We're going to start with the assumption that this is NOT POSSIBLE. Okay? However, let's look at what you really mean by saying you want to be like Tony Robbins.

1. Tony Robbins is charismatic. You would like to be charismatic.

2. Tony Robbins is an eloquent speaker. You would like to be more eloquent.

3. Tony Robbins' style is authentic and personal. You want to come across as authentic and personal.

4. Tony Robbins is successful at motivating people to take action. You want to be successful at motivating people to take action.

Now we have something to work with!

How can you work on your charisma? Here's a great article describing the ten habits of charismatic people; you can start there.

How can you be more eloquent? For starters, work on your preparation and practice (here are 211 blog posts I've written with the theme of preparation). Every successful speaker prepares and practices way more than you do.

How can you come across as more authentic? Start with this post on keeping your words and actions in alignment and follow the links to related articles.

How can you motivate people to take action? First, learn to be persuasive (this post will give you some basic tips). Then follow these examples from a speaker who gives the audience actual tools they can use.

Comparing yourself to others is not a self-esteem-building practice. We typically find ourselves lacking (unless the people you're comparing yourself to are train wrecks on reality shows, then congratulations for not sinking to the depths of reality TV).

Rather than compare yourself to successful speakers and getting discouraged, look at the qualities and skills of that speaker you admire and break down how you can gain those skills and demonstrate those qualities in a way that is authentically you.

Determine what you want and then create concrete action steps to get there. You can do this!

How do you work on presenting the most awesome version of yourself on stage? Share in the comments!

4 comments. Please add yours! :

Tammy Whitten said...

I am in love with this post! I have always wanted to be classy and calm. In my head, I picture it like Audrey Hepburn. But whenever I try to come across that way (key word: TRY), it's awkward, tense, and it's easy to recognize that I'm just not myself. I'm more of a Lucille Ball when I'm in my element: funny, real, and I can make a blunder with style and still keeping forward! That's who I am without trying. And it comes across as much more authentic and there's no tenseness involved. Once I finally learned to embrace who I am, it's amazing what happened! People love that! And I'm much happier and relaxed. That's when the real magic happens!

Lisa Braithwaite said...

It's always amazing to me, Tammy, how many people are afraid to be themselves, because they think it's better to be someone else! I've been seeing that in the List-a-Palooza comments where people are saying, "Now I see that I can be myself in my marketing." It's a constant struggle for a lot of people. Which is why I keep writing about it. :-)

Tammy Whitten said...

Being yourself reminds me of something I read in a college textbook. It said it was always scary in school to raise your hand and to give the wrong answer. What would people think if it wasn't right? But when we are ourselves, whether in our business and career, our relationships, etc. we can actually "be" the wrong answer and that's much scarier than giving the wrong answer. I've thought about that a lot in the years since that class. I think that's why people cover up who they are in so many areas of life!

Lisa Braithwaite said...

That's great - love the analogy!

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